About the Foundation 5
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Save the Rhino

In the last decade, almost 10 000 African rhinos have been lost to poaching. Over 80% of the world's surviving rhinos live in South Africa as the populations elsewhere in Africa and Asia have been decimated. The killing has slowed slightly but at least one rhino continues to be brutally killed by poachers every day.

Unfortunately, Kariega Game Reserve has not escaped this scourge and was particularly hard hit by poachers between 2009 and 2012.

On 2 March 2012 the reserve suffered a devastating triple poaching. One bull died during the attack. The second bull died 24 days later due to injuries sustained during the poaching; but the cow, now affectionately known as Thandi, survived the ordeal and after enduring a long and painful recovery, has gone on to gift us with five calves and two grand-calves to date.

Thandi and Mthetho - Image taken by Jone Hasselich

The events of 2 March 2012 catapulted Kariega Game Reserve into the forefront of the war against poaching and motivated the Kariega Foundation to develop a multi-layered and holistic approach to rhino conservation which incorporates our core motives to protect and preserve the Kariega wilderness and the animals that live in; as well as rejuvenate our neighbouring communities and create education opportunities that inspire youth, in particular, to join our conservation family. This holistic strategy includes creating opportunities for:

  • Job creation and sustainable food production;
  • Youth development through sport, environmental education and social, emotional learning; 
  • Habitat expansion and restoration;
  • A fully resourced and operational Anti Poaching Unit, including canine and mounted skills and resources; 
  • The strategic use of advance technologies for wildlife protection and reserve management.

How Can You Help?

The implementation and management of this rhino conservation strategy is costly and would not be possible without the support of Kariega Game Reserve and other key partners, collaborators and donors. We are grateful for all the support we receive. Together we are leaving a legacy of rejuvenation for our planet, people and wildlife.

There are many different ways in which you can get involved or offer support.


Each and every guest visiting Kariega Game Reserve pays a mandatory conservation and community levy that contributes significantly to the operational and resource costs of the Kariega Foundation's numerous and diverse conservation and community projects. Every guest that enjoys a safari at Kariega Game Reserve becomes our partner in conservation and community rejuvenation.

You can email our friendly reservations team on to enquire about a Kariega Safari.

Elephants Kariega Game Reserve Marketing Video


You can make a donation of any size directly to the Kariega Foundation in any of the following ways. Please email us on if you need help with anything.

 Transfer a Donation to our Bank Account

First National Bank (or FirstRand Bank Limited)
Account No: 62275606526
Branch: Newton Park
Branch code: 261050

Bank Head Office Address: FNB Bank City, Simmonds Street, Johannesburg, 2000

Please add your name and RHINO as the reference.

Donate via Credit Card

Make an online donation via credit card with GivenGain, our online fundraising partner.

Download and complete this credit card authorization form and email to

Please email us on to find out more or to ask questions about donating. We so appreciate your support.



Support us and adopt Thandi and her family via our partners Helping Rhinos. Funds raised will benefit our APU and our Kariega Foundation environmental education programme in neighbouring community schools.

How to Adopt Thandi & Family

Thanks to the Helping Rhino Adoption Centre you can adopt Thandi and her family in a few easy steps.

  1. Go to Thandi’s adoption page: or Mthetho's page:
  2. Click on the Adopt button
  3. Choose the adoption package that suits you best
  4. Add the names of a friend or two who want to share the responsibility (if required)
  5. Follow the online check-out process to register and pay online.

We are grateful to our partner Helping Rhinos, a non-profit organisation committed to delivering tangible results in rhino preservation, for making this possible.


Rhino Tears Jewellery

Buy a stunning piece of  Rhino Tears Jewellery for yourself or someone you love. It makes a particularly special gift for a milestone celebration like an 18th, 21st or 50th birthday.

Rhino Tears Jewellery was created by Sarah Cobden-Ramsay after her life changing safari to Kariega Game Reserve when she came across Thandi and her story. Sarah was inspired  to create the Rhino Tear in Thandi's name, in the hope that spreading her story will be the catalyst for change. All profits from the sale of this beautiful jewellery support rhino conservation globally.


Kariega Veldskoen

Treat yourself to a pair of Kariega Veldskoen!

The Kariega Foundation and Veldskoen Shoes share a deep love for South Africa and champion efforts that improve the lives of South African people, and protect and preserve the country’s glorious plants and wildlife. We have created the Kariega Veldskoen so that you have the opportunity to join our efforts in creating rejuvenation for our planet, people and wildlife.

When you buy a pair of Kariega Veldskoen shoes, 50% of the profits are invested directly back into the welfare of animals and people living on and around Kariega Game Reserve. Your pair of Kariega Veldskoen is contributing to all the Kariega Foundation's community building and conservation initiatives.

Kariega Veldskoen Rhino

Thandi's Story

On the 2 March 2012 one cow and two bull rhinos were poached at Kariega. Tragically, one bull was fatally wounded and died during the course of the night, whilst the remaining two were severely injured, but showed an incredible will to survive. For 24 days wildlife veterinary expert, Doctor William Fowlds, worked tirelessly with the Kariega team to give these survivors the best possible care and chance for recovery. Their bravery was unbelievable and inspired our rangers to nickname them Thandi and Themba, two isiXhosa names meaning courage (or to be loved) and hope. Sadly Themba (Hope) suffered a leg injury on the night he was poached and as a result of infection passed away on the morning of the 26 of March 2012.

Thandi continues to amaze us with her incredible fighting strength and miraculous recovery. She became the first rhino to ever survive a poaching attack. Her story spread around the world and has inspired many people to get involved in rhino conservation. 

Thandi endured numerous operations since her attack, including pioneering skin graft surgery under the care of Dr William Fowlds. In December 2013 blood tests after her last facial procedure revealed that she was pregnant. After waiting for many months, we were overjoyed that she gave birth to a female calf on 13 January 2015. We called the calf Thembi, meaning hope in isiXhosa.

“The name Thembi seemed to fit best given that this little calf has brought fresh hope and energy to those who struggle to secure the future of our rhino. She is a new generation of life, one I hope will never experience a poaching incident like her mother and namesake Themba,” commented Dr William Fowlds when she was named.

Thandi surprised us again in January 2017 when she gave birth to another calf. The male rhino calf was born on 24 January 2017 and named Colin in memory of the visionary and founder of Kariega, Colin Rushmere. He passed just days before the rhino was born.

On Wednesday 3 April 2019 we celebrated the surprise birth of poaching survivor Thandi's third rhino baby. We decided to name the male white rhino calf Mthetho, which means justice in isiXhosa. This name was chosen to commemorate the conviction and sentencing of three rhino poachers which co-incidentally took place on the same day in nearby Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown).

Thandi became a grandmother rhino when her eldest calf Thembi gave birth to a baby on 21 October 2020.

On Monday 4 January 2021 Thandi delighted us again with a new calf. Our field guides named him Siya, after the legendary Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi. The addition of this baby boy brought her offspring to a fabulous four.

Just over two years later on 1 April 2023 and in the midst of a renewed poaching crisis in the Eastern Cape, Thandi gave birth to her fifth calf. Another bull that we named Zolani, typifying our wish for this youngster to live a free-spirited life along with the rest of his species in calm and stillness. The name was also chosen in memory of our much loved field guide, Zolani who passed away in a tragic accident towards the end of 2022.

As if the birth of this fifth calf was not exciting enough! Two weeks later on the 17 April 2023 Thandi became a grandmother twice over, as Thembi gave birth to her second calf! 

Our global efforts to saved one rhino, have left a legacy of seven rhino to date. Thandi we salute you!

Read updates on Thandi and her beautiful family.

Caring for Thandi

White rhino with horn brutally removed by poachersAfter Thandi and Themba were poached, Kariega was flooded with requests to contribute to the medical care of these two survivors. In response to this overwhelming support the Kariega Foundation created a special fund dedicated to the rehabilitation and care of our rhino.

White rhino Thandi with horn removed by poachersSince then we have been blessed with incredible support from so many amazing people. Our thanks to every single person or organisation for their support and generosity to the Foundation. From everyone at Kariega, especially our rhino, THANK YOU TO ALL INVOLVED.

Help Protect our Rhino

Maintaining a fully operational and resourced Anti Poaching Unit and implementing a comprehensive dehorning programme are the two most direct actions we take to protect our crash of rhino.

The costs involved are as follows:

  • Daily operational costs of the Kariega APU is R5 000. (US$340, €280 or £250)
  • Dehorning of one Rhino (excluding fitting a tracking device) is R25 000.
  • Dehorning of one Rhino and fitting a tracking device is R35 000.

No donation in support of these efforts is too small. DONATE NOW or START A FUNDRAISER because… little bits make a LOT.

If you are interested in funding a rhino dehorning please email our Kariega Foundation Director on

The story of Thandi and her family is part of the much broader issue of rhino poaching – an issue which we cannot fight alone. The Kariega Foundation actively partners Helping Rhinos  and Global Conservation Force . Both are incredible organisations which have our full trust and support in all their commendable endeavours toward saving the rhino.

If you have any enquiries, questions or comments, please feel free to email


Donate via credit card on GivenGain

Video: Rhino Horn is not Medicine
rhino close up horn kariega game reserve peter mills.jpg
Save the Rhino: Thandi's Story
Save The Rhino Pod

How Can You Help?

If you wish to contribute to our efforts in caring for Thandi and her family and protecting all our rhino, you can make a contribution in one of the following ways. Any size donation will help, and is hugely appreciated!


First National Bank 
(or FirstRand Bank Limited)
Account no: 62275606526
Branch:Newton Park
Branch code: 261050

Bank Head Office Address: FNB Bank City, Simmonds Street, Johannesburg, 2000

Rhino Thandi & Family Blogs

We post regular updates on Rhino Thandi & family.  Read our Rhino Thandi & family blogs.